Monday 14 November 2011


A few years ago I wrote a lukewarm Amazon review regarding Shirley Conran’s LACE. I titled it “More Like Cotton”, referring to the degree of smoothness this tale of revenge on mama lacked overall. The novel, far from being perfect, failed to stir any warm feelings on my part, like the adapted mini-series did when it first aired in 1984. Someone replied to my less than enthusiastic comment about the book, labeling it rubbish on account of my gender. That bothered me. I replied by saying that I'm sure a man's perspective wouldn't have mattered had this been a rave review, which I still believe today. Frankly, a novel is as good as its author makes it out to be.

I re-visited LACE last week, keeping in mind that person’s unfavorable comment. And I can see why she wrote it. Clearly, LACE is a woman’s book. You can swing a “Duh” here if you want, but what I mean is that, contrary to many offerings in the same category, this one makes a point in elevating its female characters even higher to reach that I am woman hear my roar pedestal. In my opinion, no other novels besides Marilyn French’s THE WOMEN’S ROOM ever did that. Sure, LACE is a ‘80s genre book, meaning opulence takes center stage, but its theme is still the ever strong bond these women share while moving mountains to fulfill their individual needs.

But, alas, this discovery does not make LACE a better read a second time around. Yes, the main story line about sex symbol Lili wanting to find her real mom is as intriguing as it can be, but besides that, everything else is a struggle. Conran’s narrative is wordy and, let’s not mince words, almost dull. You barely come out feeling anything for these career gals. Moreover, the men in their lives are the bad guys. The author makes sure we, the readers, know it over and over as we go along.

This never really annoyed me before, since I’m from (and all for) the Jackie Collins school of get away from me bad men as I conquer the world and look stunning while doing so. It’s just that in this novel, no one with a schlong is friendly, and while it usually still makes for swift reading in any other work, Conran’s LACE ends up irking more than pleasing. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it better had it been a bit more pro-male. So, yes, I guess that Amazon person was right all along. You shouldn’t give credence to my point of view regarding novels for women about women such as LACE. I'd much rather watch the sensational TV adaptation, anyway.

Until next post—Martin

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